Communication Lessons from an Award-Winning Investor Relations Executive with Paul Butcher

By: Bart Egnal

In this episode, Bart welcomes Paul Butcher, who recently retired as head of investor relations for Canadian National, where he twice won IR Executive of the Year. Paul, who has just joined The Humphrey Group to launch an investor relations practice, speaks with Bart about the world of IR communications and what companies really do day in and day out to define and communicate their story to analysts and investors. Paul explains why C-suite executives have two jobs: running the company and participating in IR, why the best companies (like CN) invest huge time and effort to craft and communicate a compelling narrative, and what it takes to get ready for the many questions you face. Paul peppers his comments with anecdotes about the "glamour" of IR travel, the sheer commitment required to get this communication right, and how doing so can unlock shareholder value. 

Learn more about Paul and Investor Relations at The Humphrey Group here:


0:51 Introducing Paul
1:43 Awards
2:30 Inside investor relations
3:25 What is shareholder value and what does that mean?
3:50 You don't always have control over everything that affects stock price
4:45 Be proactive with communications
5:55 How is investor relations tied with business performance
6:42 Good or bad IR can affect stock price
8:17 Buy-in from leadership
10:38 What executives do in IR
10:56 25% of an executive's time is spent on IR
11:28 Preparing is key for execs
13:00 Know your audience
16:51 Preparation - How do you go about preparing?
19:57 Create a storyboard
23:17 The story you tell in IR
24:50 What qualities make for an exceptional IR executive
26:35 Investor Day
30:46 Rapid-fire questions
30:56 What won't you miss about IR
31:30 Avg flight segments a year?
31:54 Toughest thing that people wouldn't know about IR
32:34 What you miss about IR
33:33 Thanking Paul